The story is told of a college professor who visited a certain chain of islands. Being agnostic, he critically remarked to an elderly chief, “You’re a great leader, but it’s a pity you’ve been taken in by those foreign missionaries. They only want to get rich through you. No one believes the Bible anymore. People are tired of the silly story of Christ dying on a cross for the sins of mankind. Most people know better by now. I’m sorry you’ve been so foolish as to accept their story.”
The old chief’s eyes flashed as he answered, “See that great rock over there? On it we smashed the heads of our victims. Notice the furnace next to it? In that oven we formerly roasted the bodies of our enemies. If it had not been for those good missionaries and the love of Jesus that changed us from cannibals into Christians, you’d never leave this place alive! You’d better thank the Lord for the Gospel; otherwise we’d already be feasting on you. If it weren’t for the Bible, you’d now be our supper!”
I think even this agnostic suddenly realized the desperate need for missions. If it were not for missions, he would have been invited to supper that evening, only he would have been the supper. I wonder if we recognize the need for missions today? How important is missions to us? The average church has lost sight of missions and has exchanged their missionary zeal for their building program or their own needs at home. They have failed to see the world as Jesus sees it. The songwriter said: “Let me see this world dear Lord, as though I were looking through your eyes.” May God give us a new zeal for missions today as we see the desperate need for missions in this world of lost humanity.
What is missions any way? What is a missionary? Someone has said that a missionary is a person who teaches cannibals to say grace before they eat him! Seriously, Webster defined missions as a series of special religious services for increasing religious devotion and for conversion. Well, missions means to take the Gospel to people who are lost so we can see them saved from the penalty of their sins, which is an eternal hell. In short, missions means salvation of lost sinners from the eternal damnation of hell. It involves overseas evangelism as well as home evangelism. To maintain that missionary work is only done overseas is a misconception. Missionary work is done wherever and whenever the Gospel is preached.
Acts 1:8 says:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Why must we keep missions in the forefront of our church life today? Why is there such a desperate need for missions? Why must we be missionaries in our everyday Gospel witness? Jesus answers this question for us while talking to His disciples.
“Enter ye in at the strait (narrow) gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait (narrow) is the gate, and narrow (pressing, difficult) is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
There is the answer to why there is such a desperate need for missions. This is the reason why we need to both support and become involved with missions through the local church ministry today. Jesus made the reason so clear that none of us can miss it today. It’s because of the masses of people that are walking on the broad road, which leads to destruction or everlasting damnation. Jesus pictured the entire world of humanity as being on one of two roads. One road or path was very narrow and difficult to walk upon and ended in eternal life and blessing in the kingdom. The other road was a wide path and easy road that led to destruction or judgment. These are the only two ways or two roads. One is narrow and the other is broad. One leads to eternal life and the other leads to eternal hell and damnation. There is no purgatory road. My friend, you cannot make it any clearer than that! People say to me today that the Bible is hard to understand. Its concepts are vague and obscure.